The Gaggia Brera Superautomatic Espresso Machine Review
Bad news: it is hard to find espresso machines with a built-in grinder that are also versatile, good value for money, and let you enjoy delicious espresso shots as well as frothy milk-based drinks.
Good news? This model ticks all the boxes!
Read our Gaggia Brera review to discover its exciting features and find out why this espresso machine deserves to be in your kitchen.
Summary: The Gaggia Brera
- Versatile: can make espressos, lungos, americanos, and froth milk
- Flexible: can brew using coffee beans or pre ground coffee
- High-quality espresso shots
The Optiaroma feature gives you the unique possibility to personalize the intensity and flavour of your espresso.– Gaggia Milano
The Gaggia Brera Review
Gaggia Milano has a history spanning decades, and that legacy manifests itself in the Brera superautomatic espresso machine. Despite being a small, compact machine designed for home use, the Brera delivers cafe-quality espressos and lets you customize it as per your preference.
Design – 5/5
Designed and built in the country of origin of espresso, the Gaggia Brera is one of the finest examples of the iconic made-in-Italy style. After all, Gaggia is a staple in the Italian coffee industry, and the company can boast decades of expertise: (1)
In 1938, a Milan barista named Achille Gaggia designed a machine with a new technological feature: the lever. This […] raised the pressure of the water from the 1.5 bars of the previous machines to a full 9 bars.
The Gaggia Brera is a sturdy, robust machine that is built to last, which is great especially if you consider its price point. While its top and sides are made of plastic (you can choose silver or black), the stainless steel front panel, drip tray, and smooth corners give it an elegant retro feel, perfect to fit traditional kitchens as well as more modern countertops.
Its front features a small, user-friendly interface that combines an intuitive LED screen and illuminated icon-style buttons. Less than 12 inches tall, this super automatic machine will easily feet underneath your kitchen cupboards.
Brewing System – 4.5/5
This super automatic espresso machine offers you a premium bean-to-cup experience, thanks to the high-quality brewing system. It features a bean hopper that can hold up to 8-oz of coffee beans and a flat ceramic burr grinder that retains more of the coffee beans’ aroma and flavor. Although it can be a bit noisy during operation. You can also scoop in your favorite pre ground coffee, thanks to the bypass doser.
From the efficient stainless steel boiler to the rapid steam technology behind the Pannarello steam wand (that heats up in under 10 seconds), your morning coffee will be quick and easy, whether you want an espresso or a milk-based frothy drink.
It has an excellent milk frother that lets you experiment with a smooth and velvety texture for lattes or foamier for cappuccinos.
Brewing at a pressure of 15-bars, which is well above the minimum industry requirements for espresso brewing (2), it delivers a perfect espresso with the iconic layer of crema.
You’ll be able to fit cups or glasses between 3.1 to 4.5 inches under the adjustable spout. The removable 41-oz water reservoir and dregs drawer are both located in the front and are easy to access. This is also an energy-efficient machine that goes into standby mode an hour of inactivity.
Coffee Quality & Versatility – 4/5
We’ve found the Gaggia Brera to be one of the most versatile automatic bean-to-cup machines, second only to manual espresso makers. The Brera allows you to customize your espresso, and the Pannarello wand allows you to craft lattes and cappuccinos.
As for customizability, you can start by choosing amongst 5 different grind sizes to use the coffee in your bean hopper. The Optiaroma feature lets you choose between 3 different brew strengths (light, medium, or strong), and you can also tweak the coffee dose by pressing the bean-shaped icons. Once you’ve found your perfect espresso recipe, the machine will memorize it and replicate it for you through to the Memo function.
It has 2 programmable cup sizes for espresso and lungo, but you can also turn them into an americano by adding hot water through the handy spout.
From the pre-infusion cycle that lets the ground coffee de-gas before brewing (3), to the option for a double shot that is ground separately to ensure freshness, to the perfect layer of crema — you can tell that Gaggia invested a lot of care and precision into creating a machine that can deliver high-quality espressos. Your taste buds won’t be disappointed.
Cleaning & Maintenance – 4/5
Usually, when a machine seems too good to be true, the cleaning process reveals itself to be a nightmare. But that isn’t the case with the Gaggia Brera. All the parts that must be emptied, refilled, or washed regularly are located in the front and are easy to access. The dregs drawer can contain up to 8 brewing cycles worth of discarded coffee, so you could go a whole week without having to worry about emptying it.
The brew group is also removable, which is handy when you want to give it a quick wash under the tap.
The Gaggia Brera loses points because the automatic rinse cycle needs some getting used to (always have a mug ready to catch the water when you switch the machine on or off!). It also means that you must fill up the water tank quite often.
Unlike other super automatic espresso machines, you have to descale this machine manually. Although, it does warn you when it’s time to. Still, maintaining this machine is very practical and easy. While it doesn’t come with one, the Intenza water filter will fit in the tank, which we recommend (or using pre-filtered water) to minimize limescale buildup and ensure you get the best-tasting espresso. (4)
Value For Money – 5/5
We think that this super automatic machine is incredibly good value for money, especially when compared to more expensive models that offer fewer features (e.g., no steam wand). It’s certainly an investment when compared to entry-level budget options, but don’t forget that this is not just a basic espresso machine. It includes a ceramic burr grinder and allows you to make different types of coffee, including americanos, cappuccinos, and lattes.
It is a sturdy, well-built machine that will serve you delicious coffee for years to come. And if something goes wrong with it during the first year of purchase, you’re covered by Gaggia’s limited 1-year warranty.
Think about the money you’ll save by not having to pop into a café every day to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee. And if you’re drinking more than a cup daily, you’ll get your money back in less than a year. If that sounds appealing to you, then get yourself a Gaggia Brera today.
Things we liked:
- Pannarello steam wand makes frothing easy
- Built-in ceramic burr grinder
- Automatic pre-infusion cycle
- Adjustable brewing strength and volume
Things we didn’t like:
- Plastic back and sides
- No control over brew temperature
Do Not Buy The Gaggia Brera If…
You want to dial in your machine to achieve that perfect shot – The DeLonghi Magnifica offers accurate control over your espresso by letting you adjust shot volume and strength. It also has a built-in burr grinder, and comes with a Pannarello-style steam wand. The best part about this machine is that it has dual boilers, which means you can brew and steam milk without having to wait. You can learn more about the DeLonghi Magnifica in this post.
You don’t care for frothing or steaming milk – Not a fan of frothy, milky drinks? Or perhaps you are, but you already own a milk frother? Then no point buying a machine with a steam wand. Check out the Jura Ena Micro 1. This compact machine from Jura produces excellent espresso, ristretto, and americanos. We were even surprised by how fast it brews a shot of espresso.
You want excellent espresso at home at the touch of a button – If you want the best espresso just by pressing a couple of buttons, take a look at the Gaggia Anima Prestige, the Kalerm KLM 1601 and the Breville Oracle. These machines might be expensive, but we found they make excellent espresso and offers tons of customization options.
You want a higher-end machine – So you want a higher-end espresso machine and you want a machine that’s made in Italy, where they have a really high standard for espresso. If this is the case, then check out the Nuova Simonelli Oscar or the Rancilio Silvia. But if you want a high-end automatic espresso machine, then the Jura Giga W3 Professional is worth considering.
Allowing you to brew espresso, Americano, and milk-based frothy drinks, the Gaggia Brera is the perfect super-automatic coffee maker for any coffee lover. If you have a soft spot for espresso, but also enjoy milk-based coffee drinks, we think you’ll love this machine.
Its rapid steam technology, customizable features, and high-quality touches — such as the pre-infusion mode — show the care that Gaggia put into this machine. From an iconic company based in the birthplace of espresso, we expected nothing less. And we’re incredibly pleased that you can take the Gaggia Brera home without burning a hole in your wallet.
To descale a Gaggia Brera machine, you must empty the drip tray and dregs drawer. Add a descaling solution to the water reservoir and fill it with fresh water. Then place empty cups underneath the two spouts and activate the standby mode by pressing the small and large coffee buttons at the same time to initiate the process. You will have to turn the selector dial to match the symbols that will start flashing in the display and refill the water tank at some point. When the descaling symbol disappears, it means that the machine has completed the process.
Here’s a handy video from Gaggia, explaining how to descale your machine:
- Guerra, G. (2018, August 31). Discovering The History of The Espresso Machine at MUMAC, Italy. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/08/discovering-the-history-of-the-espresso-machine-at-mumac-italy/
- Kilbride, D. (2017, June 8). How Does Pressure Affect Espresso Quality? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/06/how-does-pressure-affect-espresso-quality/
- Rao, S. (2016, October 27). Prewetting: When To Do It, When Not To. Retrieved from https://www.scottrao.com/blog/prewetting-when-to-do-it-when-not-to
- Robertson, J. (2017, June 21). How The Water You Brew With Will Make Or Break Your Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.extractedmagazine.com/water-coffee-brewing/